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Unheard of Rs 3.3 lakh Cr bank deposit bulge in Diwali week slumped in a fortnight

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NEW DELHI: State Bank of India’s Economic Research Department has highlighted the curious case of Rs 3.3 lakh crore deposit bulge and the Rs 2.7 lakh crore deposit slump in alternate fortnights.

As per the provisional data released by RBI for the fortnight ended November 19, ASCB’s aggregate deposits have slumped by Rs 2.7 lakh crore during the fortnight. The slump in deposits follows an abrupt increase by Rs 3.3 lakh crore during the previous fortnight ended November 5. Interestingly, such growth in deposits was around 36 per cent of the incremental deposit growth at that point of time. This increase in deposits and subsequent slump is quite a contrarian trend, says Soumya Kanti Ghosh, Group Chief Economic Adviser, State Bank of India.

While it may be exactly difficult to decipher the increase and subsequent decline, it does pose questions on liquidity management/financial stability or a shift in behavioural trend in customer payment habits through digitisation and hence lower currency leakage and concomitant deposit bulge or both.

First, the fortnightly increase of Rs 3.3 lakh crore. This has never happened during a Diwali week as there is always a currency leakage and concomitant deposit decline. This is also the fifth largest increase in any fortnight in the last 24 years. Such huge incremental addition has happened only a few times, with higher deposits accretion (than the current year’s fortnight) occurring during the fortnight ended November 25, 2016 (Rs 4.16 lakh crore), September 30, 2016 (Rs 3.55 lakh crore), March 29, 2019 (Rs 3.46 lakh crore) and April 1, 2016 (Rs 3.41 lakh crore). However, the increase in November 2016 was because of demonetisation and the March and April fortnightly increases could be attributed to seasonal year-end bulge. In this respect, the current deposit bulge requires a detailed explanation, the report said.

Next, the fortnightly deposit slump in the subsequent fortnight. ‘We believe that it is possible that there was a large influx of deposits into the banking system for the fortnight ended November 5, 2021 in anticipation of a build up in rally in stock markets post primary issuances of new age companies and others. However, when such a rally did not materialise, the bulge in banking deposits slumped and almost 80 per cent of deposit bulge was withdrawn, the report said.

Interestingly, the amount of money parked in fixed reverse repo window jumped from Rs 0.45 lakh crore on October 19 to Rs 2.4 lakh crore on November 17, 2021 and has remained at such level till December 1. However, it must be noted that the significant jump in digital transactions has also resulted in lower usage of cash in the current fiscal and ideally could also have resulted in a surge in deposits for the Diwali week.

Meanwhile, if we look at the quarterly ASCB data, though the deposits growth remains same in Q2 (2.6 per cent) as compared to Q1 (2.5 per cent), sequentially at all-India level, apart from Metro regions, the deposits growth has decelerated in Q2 as compared to Q1, particularly in rural areas indicating that the current economic recovery is mostly urban led and rural economy is still recouping. Meanwhile, ASCB’s credit has increased by Rs 1.18 lakh crore (7.1 per cent YoY) during the fortnight ended November 5, which may be due to festive demands.



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